In the May 2017 Microbiology Journal club, we discussed a paper entitled “High taxonomic variability despite stable functional structure across microbial communities“. This journal club is headed up by Dr. Laura Williams of Providence College and co-hosted by the Dr. Karen Lo.
Dr. Williams’ intro: In microbiome studies, researchers often consider both taxonomic composition (what bacterial taxa are there?) and functional capacity (what can these bacteria do?). In this paper, researchers looked at the microbial communities in the “tanks” of bromeliad plants. These “tanks” are central cavities that collect rainwater and organic material. The researchers used 16S rRNA gene data to detect different types of bacteria and classified these bacteria into one of nine metabolic functional groups. They then examined the taxonomic composition within each of these groups. What processes, such as environmental filtering, random demographic drift or biotic interactions, affect the composition of these functional groups?